Microsoft Introduces Ads To Start Menu With Windows 11 KB5036980

Windows 11 Cumulative UpdateWindows 11 Cumulative Update

Microsoft has released the non-security update for Windows 11, KB5036980. It comes on the 4th Tuesday of the month, like clockwork. This update makes several improvements to the Start menu Recommendations section and the recently-introduced lock screen widgets, apart from other minor improvements and fixes.

However, the highlight of this update is the inclusion of app ads in the Start menu. With the optional update KB5036980, Microsoft has started promoting apps in the Start menu, that are not installed on your PC. These third-party apps have likely paid Microsoft to include their app logos to enhance their marketing.

KB5036980 can be installed manually on Windows 11 23H2 which brings the build to 22631.3527. If you install it on a supported Windows 11 22H2 edition, the build is upgraded to 22621.3527. If you wish to skip it, you will likely see the new features and improvements in the upcoming Patch Tuesday release for May 2024.

Release Summary: KB5036980

  • KB Article: KB5036980
  • Update Type: Cumulative Update (Type D)
  • OS Version: Windows 11 versions 22H2, 23H2
  • OS Build: 226X1.3527
  • Size: 612.9 MB
  • Release Date: 23rd April 2024

Download and install KB5036980

You can download and install KB5036980 from Windows Update, or using the direct download links here:

KB articleOS versionDownload
Download KB5036980 for Windows 11 23H2, 22H2

Download the .MSU files from the links provided in the “Downloads” column, and execute the packages to install the update.

KB5036980 installed successfully
KB5036980 installed successfully

To install the update from Windows Update on a Windows 11 (23H2 or 22H2) PC, press the Windows Key + i to open Settings, go to “Windows Update“, and then click “Check for updates.” Once the update is available, click “Download and install.” Once installed, restart the PC to finalize it.

Note that the update may start installing automatically if you have enabled the “Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available” option.

What’s new in KB5036980

Ads in the Start menu

Microsoft had planned to introduce paid ads to the Start menu, but they were not anticipated till June 2024. It looks like Microsoft released the new feature ahead of its expected time, and with the update KB5036980, the ads now appear when you open the Start menu.

Third-party application icons now appear as advertisements in the Start menu, in the Recommended section, even though those applications are not installed. It looks like these app providers have paid Microsoft to display their app icons for the people to see, and hopefully download.

That said, at the moment, you can manage whether you want to see such ads in the Start menu from Settings > Personalization > Start > Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more.

Note that the feature is gradually rolling out. Therefore, you may not see the ads or the option to manage them in the Settings app right away.

Improvements to Recommended section in Start menu

Some other improvements have also been made to the Recommended section in the Start menu.

For one, this area will promote some Microsoft Store applications that are not installed on your PC. These apps will come from a small set of curated developers. This will help you to discover some of the great apps that are available.

However, if you want to turn these off as well, like the ads, you can do so from Settings > Personalization > Start > Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more.

Moreover, your most frequently used apps might appear in the Recommended section of the Start menu. This applies to apps that you have not already pinned to the Start menu or the taskbar.

Improvements to lock screen widgets

In KB5036893, Microsoft introduced the lock screen widget cards that displayed different useful information around your area, such as the weather, local news, etc. With this update, Microsoft has made them more reliable and has improved their quality.

The feature now offers a more customized experience, and Microsoft has also made a few animations to make the cards more interactive.

Other improvements in KB5036980

There is a long list of fixes and improvements in this update. However, here I have highlighted the important ones:

  • This update improves the Widgets icons on the taskbar. They are no longer pixelated or fuzzy. This update also starts the rollout of a larger set of animated icons.
  • This update affects the touch keyboard. It makes the Japanese 106 keyboard layout appear as expected when you sign in.
  • This update fixes an issue that affects the Settings app. It stops responding when you dismiss a flyout menu.
  • This update adds a new mobile device management (MDM) policy called “AllowScreenRecorder.” It affects the Snipping Tool. IT admins can use this policy to turn off screen recording in the app.
  • This update addresses an issue that affects a low-latency network. The speed of data on the network degrades significantly. This occurs when you turn on timestamps for a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection.
  • This update affects Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2). Intermittent name resolution fails in a split DNS setup.
  • This update addresses an issue that affects universal printers. The system creates duplicate print queues for them.
  • This update addresses an issue that occurs when you elevate from a normal user to an Administrator to run an application. When you use a PIN to sign in, the app will not run.
  • This update addresses an issue that affects Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) hardware offload. A stop error occurs on PCs that support it.
  • This update addresses an issue that affects the Resilient File System (ReFS). A high load might make the system unresponsive. Also, signing in might be slow.

If you want to read the complete changelog, read the Microsoft blog post for KB5036980.

Other than these improvements, Microsoft is also aware of a known issue with this update.

Known issue in KB5036980

Microsoft has stated that users might not be able to change their user account’s profile picture after installing KB5036980.

If you attempt to change your profile picture by going to Settings > Accounts > Your info, and then clicking “Choose a file“, you may see an error message with the code “0x80070520”.

At the moment, there is no workaround for this issue. However, Microsoft does say that they are working on the problem and will likely provide an update in the upcoming Patch Tuesday release.

 If you want to learn about the history of issues with Windows 11, refer to our dedicated guide post here:

Windows 11 Known Issues


Although this update is not entirely stable and has an issue that did not occur before on the stable channel, it also introduces several new features, fixes, and improvements. Therefore, if configuring a new profile picture for your computer account isn’t a requirement, I would recommend that you install KB5036980 and test out the new features and improvements.

Windows 11 optional non-security update history

KB ArticleOS VersionBuildRelease DateSignificant ChangesAnnouncement
KB503698023H2, 22H222621.3527,
24-Apr-24Ads and recommended apps in Start menu, improvement to taskbar and lock screen widgetsMicrosoft Announcement of KB5036980
KB503594223H2, 22H222621.3374,
26-Mar-24Widgets on lock screen, improvements to Voice Access, Narrator, Windows Sshare, & Nearby SharingMicrosoft Announcement of KB5035942
KB503484823H2, 22H222621.3235,
29-Feb-24Support for USB4 v2 (80 GBps), ability to edit mobile screenshots with Windows Snipping ToolMicrosoft Announcement of KB5034848
KB503420423H2, 22H222621.3085,
23-Jan-243D emojis restored, bugs fixed in Start menu, File Explorer, and Bluetooth technology.Microsoft Announcement of KB5034204
KB503228823H2, 22H222621.2792, 22631.27924-Dec-23Several improvements for Copilot and File Explorer, Spotlight as the default backgroundMicrosoft Announcement of KB5032288
KB503145522H222621.250626-Oct-23Introduces Moment 4 features that are enabled by default, fixes issues with touchscreen amongst othersMicrosoft Announcement of KB5031455
KB503031022H222621.236126-Sep-23– Introduces new features of Windows 11 23H2
– Made major fixes and resolved issues
Microsoft Announcement of KB5030310
KB502935122H222621.221522-Aug-23– Improves app defaults and app pinning
– Includes hover behavior to search box gleam
Microsoft Announcement of KB5029351
KB502825422H222621.207026-Jul-23– Addresses issues with push notifications
– Fixes issues with VPN connectivity
Microsoft Announcement of KB5028254
KB502730322H222621.192827-Jun-23– Includes all Moment 3 features and improvements, including the option to show seconds in the taskbar clock.
– Improves the sharing of a local file in File Explorer with Microsoft Outlook contacts
– Several additions and changes to the Settings app pages.
Microsoft Announcement of KB5027303
KB502644622H222621.177824-May-23– Fixes speech recognition known issue, adds total OneDrive storage view in Accounts Settings page, adds Bluetooth LE to supported hardware.
– Introduces a new issue with 32-bit apps while saving, attaching, and moving them.
Microsoft Announcement of KB5026446
Changelog for Windows 11 optional non-security preview updates
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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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